So you’ve got a fresh bag of beans and you’re eager to try out your new machine. But have you considered the weight?
Whether you’re a fan of grinding your own coffee with a hammer, or you prefer to spend your mornings on the couch sipping a latte, you’ll be relieved to know that a blender can make the job just as quick and easy as using a traditional burr grinder.
Reason To Use a Coffee Grinder
If you’re serious about your coffee you’re either using a blade grinder or burr grinder in your kitchen. But why use a coffee grinder if you can use a blender? Let’s cover some basics about the perfect brew of coffee.
The quality of a grind determines the flavor and texture of your coffee brew. Roasted beans, if done properly, have been prepared at the right temperature.
For an optimal brew, overheating your beans while grinding them could affect the flavor of your coffee.
Blade grinders create a lot of heat so you run the risk of overheating your beans using this method. And you’ll have an uneven grind. Which is why burr grinders are popular.
Burr grinders been designed to grind your coffee beans for optimal flavor. The beans are not overheated during the grinding process and the grind is even.
In other words:
- Grinding your own beans gives you total control of the grind size, which hugely impacts the flavor extraction as your beans brew.
- The coffee will taste fresher. You see, the clock starts ticking on the lifespan of a coffee bean’s maximum flavor starts ticking the second it’s removed from the roaster, and it begins counting down even faster once the beans have been ground.
Your best bet at drinking the most flavorful cup of java possible is to use coffee beans that were ground mere moments before brewing…who knows how many weeks that pre-ground coffee from the grocery store has been sitting in that bag? Chances are, it’s already lost a good deal of flavor.
Reason To Learn How To Grind Coffee Beans In A Blender
Have you noticed that professional coffee shops grind the coffee beans right before brewing the coffee drink you ordered?
They never use pre-ground coffee (and if they do, you should find a new coffee shop).
There are many factors that influence the final result of a cup of espresso, but coffee grinds play a major role. Using pre-ground coffee might save you some time, but by doing this, you are sacrifice flavor.
Pre-ground coffee makes your coffee taste stale. As a coffee lover, you want to make sure that your daily cup of coffee tastes as fresh as possible.
Grinding your coffee beans right before making a pot of coffee guarantees you that fresh coffee flavor because it minimizes their exposure to oxygen, which tends to destroy the flavor of the coffee bean.
Most coffee enthusiasts recommend grinding the coffee beans thirty minutes before brewing. This is the reason why the best home coffee makers have a grinder built-in.
The only way to get the maximum flavor from your coffee beans is by grinding them shortly before brewing them.
Grinding Coffee: FAQS
How Fine Should I Grind My Coffee Beans?
Now that you know how to grind your beans with or without a grinder, you’re probably wondering just how fine your result should be. Well, that depends entirely on the brewing method you intend to use.
Different coffee brew methods require different-sized grinds.
If you just want a brief overview, know that espresso machines need extra-fine, powdery coffee particles, a drip coffee maker responds best to beans that have been crushed to a medium grind size, and your beloved cold brew maker needs a coarser grind.
Is It Worth It To Grind Your Own Coffee?
Our answer to this is a resounding YES!
First of all, though convenient, pre-ground coffee won’t always produce the freshest cups of joe because you don’t know exactly when it was ground or how long it’s been losing its flavor in the bag.
So, if you’re passionate about fresh coffee (and why wouldn’t you be?), your best bet is to grind your java yourself right before you brew it.
Do Coffee Beans Go Bad?
As much as we wished coffee lasted forever, like all good things, its lifespan does indeed come to an end. If unused, both whole bean and ground coffee will eventually go stale.
Whole beans can typically last in your pantry for about six to nine months, so long as they’re in a sealed container. An unopened package of ground coffee can be stored for three to five months.
Extend your coffee’s lifespan as long as possible by storing it in an airtight container and keeping it away from light and moisture.
Can You Grind Coffee Beans In A Food Processor?
Yes, you can grind your beloved coffee beans in a food processor.
But unfortunately, this grinding method leaves you facing the same problem you would with a blade grinder: you won’t have a uniform grind size, which means uneven flavor extraction when you brew the ground beans.
But if this isn’t a dealbreaker for you, using a food processor to grind beans could be a viable option.
The grinding process here is quite similar to if you were using a blender. Turn the food processor on in short bursts, repeatedly starting and stopping the pulses until you end up with coarse grinds.
Can I Grind Coffee Beans In The Nutribullet?
The Nutribullet is a small, affordable extractor designed to quickly blend at a high speed. It is portable, making it more convenient than a traditional blender.
The wider Nutribullet containers can move ingredients around better for more even blending than many conventional blenders.
The Nutribullet Original has a 600-watt motor that will grind almost everything. Its blenders spin at high speed (up to 24,000 RPM) to crush and pulverize ingredients, including seeds.
The Nutribullet Original works fine if you are attempting a coarse grind for a cold brew coffee.
The only drawback of the Nutribullet Original is that it has only one speed and no pulse. This might have a negative impact on the flavor of the ground coffee due to overheating from the blades.
There are, however, two alternatives to the Nutribullet Original. One is the Nutribullet Pro which has a 900-watt motor that will allow you to blend the ingredients quickly and keep them from overheating.
The other option is the Ninja Pro blender. It is also 900 watts but it features one speed and pulse. This will allow you to grind coffee beans just like in a blender: in short and quick bursts.
Is it Possible to Grind Coffee Beans in a Blender?
If you like to grind your own coffee, you most likely have a burr coffee grinder at home. But I’ve often wondered what would happen if my grinder decides to take a break? Can you grind coffee beans in a blender? Surprisingly, you can.
In fact, you can use other items besides the blender. And they’re all found in your kitchen (that is if you’ve got them in the first place!).
If the thought of grinding your coffee beans in any other way besides your grinder makes you cringe, think again!
Are you willing to give up on your early morning freshly ground coffee because your grinder has gone on the blink? I didn’t think so.
And the prospect of going down to your local coffee shop for your breakfast brew doesn’t sound appealing when you’ve just woken up.
So before you give up on your first brew of the day, read on to find out how to grind beans in a blender. And in many other ways too!
Will My Blender Be Damaged If I Use It To Grind Coffee Beans?
If you are careful, your blender shouldn’t suffer any damage. That’s why we recommend you grind only a small amount of coffee beans in short bursts, rather than at one speed.
You should also make sure that your blender has a “grinding setting”, before attempting to grind coffee beans.
Which Is Better: To Grind A Lot At Once Or Fresh Every Day?
Although it is possible to grind a larger amount of coffee and store it for a few weeks, it’s not ideal, for two reasons.
Grinding your own coffee beans is not only cheaper, but it guarantees a daily fresh coffee taste.
So if you grind a lot of coffee beans and store the ground coffee for later use, it will eventually lose its flavor and you will get stale coffee. It’s the same as buying pre-ground coffee.
The second reason why we would not recommend grinding a lot of coffee in a blender at once, is because running the blender continuously can overheat the coffee beans’ natural oils, leading to a bitter and harsh taste.
You might save time by grinding a large amount of coffee and storing it, but you would be sacrificing the flavor and we don’t think that’s worth it.
What kind of Coffee Grinder Should I Buy?
Each coffee grinder and its directions for use differ depending on what product you buy, so be sure to check out the instruction manual after making a purchase. But essentially, each grinder falls into one of two categories: burr or blade.
Burr grinders are the products of choice for coffee professionals…and us, too! They use two oscillating plates called burrs to crush and grind whole bean coffee, and you can find both electric and manual models.
A burr coffee grinder is preferred by most because it gives you coffee that’s a consistent size, and when it comes to coffee brewing, size really does matter.
The more uniformly ground the beans are, the better the flavor extraction will be when you begin brewing.
Within this category are flat disk burr coffee grinders and conical burr grinders. The primary difference between these machines is the shape of the burred rings inside of them.
Of these two, flat disk grinders are said to be the most consistent, especially if you need a fine espresso grind, but they’re also more expensive.
Each of these has its own set of pros and cons, so you’ll need to do a bit of research before making a purchase. However, both options manage to give you precise grinds.
Blade coffee grinders, on the other hand, do exactly what we know blades do: they cut! Both the electric and manual versions of these grinders use a spinning blade to chop up the coffee beans.
While these machines tend to boast a lower price point than burr grinders, they’re not always the best choice for meeting your grinding needs.
Unfortunately, a blade coffee grinder gives you inconsistent grinds, which leave you with a mug full of irregularly flavored coffee and probably a bit of disappointment.
Grinding Coffee Beans using a Blender
We’ve all been there — you rouse from a bad night’s sleep and stumble to the kitchen to make the liquid fuel you’ll need to get the day going. You go to grind the beans and … nothing. The grinder is DOA.
Sure, you could give up and climb back into bed. Or, you could power through the morning routine and then drag yourself to the closest coffee shop.
But there’s another solution. An appliance you likely already have is ready and waiting to grind those beans: It’s time to break out the blender.
You might think of blenders as your 5 p.m. margarita helper, but they are a great alternative to coffee grinders because they still have a blade system that breaks down the beans evenly, creating a consistent grind.
Consistency in the grind of coffee beans is vital to the flavor of the cup it produces. If there are inconsistencies, the natural oils found within the beans will be improperly extracted, resulting in a bitter flavor.
With the perfect, consistent grind, the oils and flavors of the beans will be extracted with a much greater accuracy, resulting in a smoother cup of coffee.
If you’re concerned about the consistency of your grind, there’s no need to fret.
Grinding the beans in small batches will ensure that your beans have ample room to move and groove and grind up real nice.
Additionally, working in small batches preserves the flavor of the beans because, the longer the blender runs, the higher the temperature inside of the vessel will rise.
As heat is generated, the natural oils of the beans could begin to cook, resulting in a harsh, bitter flavor. So, just remember: Small batches and patience are key!
Okay, now that we have some background information, it’s time to get to grinding. The first step is to toss a small amount (try 1/4 cup) of beans into the blender.
Pulse the beans on medium speed to break them down to your preferred grind. Using a blender generally creates a coarser grind, great for brewing with a drip coffee maker, French press or cold-brew coffee maker.
Once this first small batch is done, repeat these simple steps until you have your desired volume. From here, proceed as usual, brewing the all-star cup of coffee you deserve.
Though, while you’re at it, be sure you’re brewing the best-possible cup, no matter what your go-to brewing method is.
Summary: How to Grind Beans with a Blender
- Select the “medium-high” setting, or “grinder” setting if your blender has one
- Pour the desired amount of coffee into the blender (¼ cup to ½ cup of beans is ideal) and close the lid shut. Make sure it’s firmly in place!
- Using the pulse setting, grind the beans in time limits of 3 to 5 seconds.
- Repeat this process a maximum of 6 times for a maximum total of 30 seconds.
- If needed, tilt the blender to the side while grinding to ensure that the grind is mostly consistent.
Other Grinding Tools You Can Use
Your faithful burr coffee grinder has gone on the blink. You’re reading this article to find out how to grind your beans using other tools. Your first option is the blender on your kitchen countertop.
If you don’t have a blender, don’t despair. Other options are available and I’ll take you through them. But first, let’s talk about using the blender.
Mortar and Pestle Method
This method requires a bit of manual labor but it’s worthwhile if you’re craving your own blend of coffee. I
Again, don’t be tempted to rush this process. If you put too many beans in the mortar you won’t be able to produce a fine grind – unless you plan on spending the whole day mashing away at the coffee beans!
Place a small number of coffee beans into the mortar. A small handful is sufficient. Holding the mortar in one hand, use the pestle to grind the beans.
A twisting motion is the most comfortable movement to use and it’ll grind the beans in a consistent manner. You’ll need to use a bit of force here.
Once the beans are crushed into smaller pieces, use a rolling motion with the pestle. Roll the beans around the mortar until your grind is of the consistency you want.
This method can produce a medium to fine grind with a bit of patience.
Hammer and Rolling Pin Methods
Now, the hammer and rolling pins are two tools most people have in their homes.
So if the blender has also gone on the blink and the mortar & pestle is something you don’t own, the hammer and rolling pins are your other options.
- The hammer: You’re grinding the coffee beans not smashing them to pieces so when using the hammer take it easy. You’ll need a large plastic bag, parchment paper, or a dishtowel & a large chopping board.
Place a few handfuls of coffee beans into the bag (or wrap up in the paper or dishcloth). Place the bag flat on the chopping board and with gentle force, press the hammer down onto the beans.
Crush the beans by moving the hammerhead in a sideways action. Do this until you have the right texture. This method gives you a coarse to medium grind depending on how long you use the hammer.
A mallet works just as well. Place the dishcloth over the plastic bag to give it extra protection when using the mallet.
- The rolling pin: You can use a wine bottle here if you can’t find the rolling pin. You’ll also need a plastic bag, parchment paper, or a dishtowel.
And the large chopping board. Place some coffee beans in the bag, lay it flat on the chopping board, and start rolling.
Using a backward and forward motion over the beans, you’ll be able to crush the beans until you reach the consistency you want.
You’ll need to apply gentle pressure while rolling. When you use a rolling pin you’ll be able to get a fine grind but it’ll take time.
Using Bullet Blender to Grind Coffee
This is a question I hear often when coffee lovers are talking about grinding coffee. I did some research and the answer is yes. But before you rush into using your bullet blender take note of the following:
- Use the flat blade. This is the best blade for grinding things like…coffee beans! The cross blade is used for chopping up vegetables and fruit. So before starting to grind the coffee, make sure the right blade is in place.
- Measure out the coffee beans and pour them into the grinding cup. Place the cup onto the base of the blender. With pulsing motions, push the grinding cup down.
Don’t hold the cup down constantly. As with the blender, the pulsing motions will keep the temperature down and the beans will not overheat. It’ll also prevent the motor from burning out.
- Keep pressing the cup until the coffee beans are at the consistency you want – the more you press, the finer the grind.
- Using a blender this way gives you the option of going from coarse to medium to fine grinds.
- Pour the grinds out of the grinding cup, put them in your coffee maker, let it brew before enjoying your first cup of coffee of the day.
Word of caution: Read the manual first before using your bullet blender. This will save you from doing any damage to your blender.
Using Hand Mincer or Meat Grinder
If you’re not familiar with this device, let us give you a visual: think the old metal pencil sharpener your elementary school teacher probably had on her desk.
Hand mincers, or meat grinders, are devices used to finely cut up all sorts of meat and vegetables.
It’s easy to see how a mincer could function well as a manual coffee grinder.
The stainless steel or plastic machine has an internal blade assembly that’s controlled by a hand crank and works to chop up whatever you put into it, including coffee beans.
To get your grind on with your handy dandy hand mincer, measure out the amount of beans you want to grind.
Be sure to place a bowl or measuring cup at the machine’s opening to catch the grounds as they exit, then turn the hand crank slowly while pouring the beans into the mincer.
Once you’re finished, you can sift through the grounds and put any large pieces back through the meat grinder a few times if necessary.
The meat tenderizer is a small, metal hammer used for softening and flattening cuts of meat. The mallet’s head has two flat sides that are covered with little bumps or spikes, and well…you can probably guess how it works.
But before you begin your bean smashing, let us offer you a bit of useful advice.
First, you’ll want to pour your beans into a zipper freezer bag.
Press all the air out before sealing the bag so it doesn’t pop like a balloon, then wrap the bag in a dish towel so you won’t puncture it with the meat tenderizer.
Use just a little bit of force to hammer the beans as evenly as possible. Make sure you check your progress every few whacks; you don’t want to render your coffee beans useless!
Using A Knife
If you can’t seem to find any of the above materials, then a butcher knife can do the job. Its design features a slightly wider blade, which provides a larger surface area and more force to crack the beans and crush them.
This method gives you a medium to medium-fine grind. However, if you have never used a butcher knife before, go for a different method.
- Place coffee beans on a cutting board
- Place the knife flatly on the coffee beans
- Press down firmly using your palm to crack the beans
Consistency of Grinding
According to specialists and experts in the coffee industry (like us!) grind uniformity and consistency are essential when it comes to producing a perfect cup of coffee.
Grind consistency enables you to extract flavours present in coffee beans with much greater accuracy.
With an inconsistent grind, there will be over extraction or under extraction, leading to a chalky taste. If a grinder is not available, just crush or grind a few beans at a time, to reach the best consistency.
This gives you better control over the texture. You also need to ensure that you are going slowly while repeating the movements continuously until you achieve grind uniformity.
Which Method for the Best Coffee?
Each method has its pros and cons. Using a blender gives you a coarse to medium grind which works well in a drip coffee maker or the French Press.
There’s always the danger of overheating the beans using the blender so remember, be patient and use pulsing motions to avoid this from happening.
The mortar and pestle, hammer, and rolling pin methods take a bit of elbow grease. This could be heavy going first thing in the morning!
You’ll also battle to get a fine grind unless you go at it for a long time which again is not ideal when you’ve just woken up. But, these offer a simple solution to grinding coffee beans.
Most of us will have one or all of these tools in our homes. And it’s cheaper than buying another coffee grinder.
The bullet blender is quick and easy. Depending on how long you grind, you can choose whether to have coarse, medium, or fine grind.
If espresso is your brew, the fine grind works well and you can do it with a bullet blender. However, you could end up going too far and ending up with very fine coffee sticking together.
Coffee grind plays a huge role in the process of brewing coffee. From the coarseness of the grind to the freshness of it, everything will have an impact on the final result: the taste of your cup of coffee.
That’s why coffee enthusiasts recommend grinding your coffee beans at home, right before making a pot or cup of coffee.
However, not everybody can afford a professional coffee grinder or a coffee machine with a grinder. That’s why we think it’s important to present you with alternatives to grind coffee beans.
Of all the alternatives to grinding coffee without a grinder, using a blender is by far the best because it works similar to a blade grinder.
It is true that none of the alternatives to a grinder give you the same fine and consistent grind as a professional coffee grinder does. But it is still better than pre-ground coffee.
And not having a grinder at home shouldn’t be an obstacle to enjoying the full and rich flavor of a cup of coffee!